If you’re like me, you badly want more days of summer.
Before the rains reach Turkey, I’m heading for one of their lesser known havens: Olympos, near the agricultural village of Cirali – well off the beaten track in the region of Antalya.
My excuse is that I need to activate Vitamin D in my body because my bones are already aching from the plummeting temperatures in South East England.
On this occasion, I’m visiting Bulent and Refi’s home at Daphne House where they can accommodate up to 16 travellers in comfort and style.
My aim, while I’m there, is to report back on all the properties I’ve stayed at in Cirali – part of Lycian Turkey – over the years. I really want to give a feel for this special place.
You won’t find designer outlets and extravagant shopping in this part of the world. You will, however, find a certain amount of handcrafted work, including art, ceramics and pottery.
The big difference
What Cirali and Olympos have that most other tourist spots lack is a community spirit. This is largely because the big tourist hotel developers have not been allowed to build here.
They are really two villages with family-run accommodation for tourists.
There are around sixty pensions with lodges and wooden dwellings, along with small hotels, strung along the Patara shore and up to the forested areas of Olympos.
Incidentally, my favourite holiday garment (I wear it at home, too) is a bright, billowing pair of yellow cotton Turkish trousers made locally in Cirali last November. They had to be made about four inches longer than usual to fit my long legs!
Cirali is also a haven for endangered Loggerhead and, sometimes, green sea turtles which return to their traditional nesting site at Patara Beach every year.
Basket-like covers mark the spots where turtles have laid and buried their eggs. In late summer – possibly during the full moon – tiny turtles emerge from their shells and scamper in all directions as they search for the sea.
Those in the know from local restaurants, pensions and small hotels help protect their mascots by keeping lights low on summer nights and guide young turtles going in the wrong direction into the sea.
And then there’s the food
Like the delicious food I sampled recently at Bangors Organic B&B in North Cornwall, Turkish vegetables and fruit truly burst with flavour; and I hope to have a few local recipes to offer by the time I return from Daphne House.
New post tomorrow on Daphne House, which was every bit as good as I hoped. Bulant and Refi are both delightful in their own, unique ways, and they really care about their guests. It’s not just the food, it’s a way of life.